About family violence and abuse in relationships
Family violence is a pattern of behaviour where one person tries to control or scare another person. It is a form of abuse that can happen in many different types of relationships.
You may experience family violence directly or see and hear abuse and violence between other family members.
On this website you can learn more about:
- recognising violence and abuse in families and relationships
- reporting family violence to the police
- understanding the justice system in Victoria.
Do you need help?
If anyone is in immediate danger or a crime is currently occurring, please call police on Triple Zero (000). If you cannot access a phone you can also go to your local police station.
There are good reasons to report violence and abuse, but if you are not ready to do that yet, or do not want to involve the police, you can still get help. Talking to a trusted person, like a counsellor, teacher, doctor or friend can be a good first step and they can help you talk to the police or other services if you want them to.
Free support across Victoria
The Victims of Crime Helpline 1800 819 817 is available every day 8am to 11pm to provide advice and referrals to anyone from any background who is experiencing violence or abuse in their family or relationships.
In Victoria there are a range of services that can provide assistance and support. We can discuss your situation with you and connect you to support and assistance that best meets your needs and preferences.
You can find out more about general family violence services available in Victoria.
You can also contact specialist services available for young people.
Victoria’s family violence support service for women and children experiencing violence and abuse.
24 hour phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25.
Free legal advice for people under 25 including drop in clinics, phone & email advice – Victoria wide.
Frontyard Youth Services (provided by Melbourne City Mission)
Integrated services to address the physical, social and emotional needs of young people aged between 12 and 25 years who are homeless or marginalised. Most services are delivered in the Melbourne CBD, but some services are available across Victoria.
Reporting abuse of young people to Victorian Child Protection Service
(Department of Health and Human Services)
You should make a report to Child Protection if you are concerned that a young person under 18 years old has suffered or is likely to suffer significant harm as a result of abuse or neglect, and that their parent has not protected, is unable to protect or is unlikely to protect the young person from harm of that type.
Business hours (9am–5pm, Monday to Friday)
Contact the child protection intake service in your area.
After hours (Weeknights 5pm–9pm, and 24 hours on weekends and public holidays)
Contact the after hours Child Protection Emergency Service on 13 12 78.
Reporting concern for a young person's wellbeing to The Orange Door
If you have concern for the wellbeing of a young person under 18 years old, but do not believe they are at risk of significant harm, and where the immediate safety of the young person will not be compromised, you can report to The Orange Door.
These services can link young people to services that can help. For a contact phone number in your area, visit The Orange Door website.
Mandatory reporting – protecting children from harm
In Victoria, police officers and other professionals such as medical practitioners, nurses and teachers, are legally required to report to child protection if they believe a child:
- has been or might be harmed because of physical or sexual abuse, and
- their parents or guardians have not protected them, are not able to protect them or are not likely to protect them.
This is called mandatory reporting.
All adults in the community have a responsibility to report child sexual abuse
Since 2014, there has been a law in Victoria called the failure to disclose offence. It means that you must report child sexual abuse if you:
- are an adult, and
- you come to a ‘reasonable belief’ that a sexual offence (sexual abuse) has been committed by an adult against a child under 16.
If this happens you must report your belief to the police, unless you have a reasonable excuse. If you do not, you may be charged with a criminal offence. The maximum penalty is three years imprisonment.
You can learn more about the failure to disclose offence on the Department of Justice and Community’s website.